The Latino Academy of Workforce Development is graduating its all-time largest class of students this year, totaling 51 students, at a private ceremony on Saturday, July 16.
These students will be celebrating the acquisition of either a General Education Development (GED) or a Commercial Drivers License (CDL).
The Academy offers training for both alongside a wide variety of classes. These courses include but aren’t limited to English as a second language (ESL), manufacturing, building, food handling, forklift operating, mindfulness, and leadership.
Other certifications available include ServSafe, Forklift Certification Training, and OSHA compliance training.
Founded in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2011, the Academy was born out of a need to meet the needs of Latinos who wanted to gain education or learn English but had nowhere to go to learn what they needed to work.
Not just settling for their graduates learning the necessary skills, the Academy has fought for better pay, pushing to get their graduates a minimum of $15 an hour plus benefits. To facilitate their graduates’ transition from learning to the workplace, they also offer assistance in résumé building and feature job openings on their website from employers they have partnered with.
In 2021, the Academy served 2,209 individuals in some capacity, awarding 248 industry-recognized credentials, and saw 77 of their participants join the workforce at $15+ an hour with benefits.
In contrast to 2020, over 100 more attendees earned industry-recognized credentials in 2021.
Recently, the Academy has begun a partnership with the Wisconsin Motors Carriers Association and the Wisconsin Beverage Association, naming it the Latino Academy Regional Transportation Training Center.
This new academy is designed to meet the rising need for delivery truck drivers across the state. As Wisconsin communities rely on trucking transportation, there is a yearly estimated need for 6,590 new truck drivers.
The Academy places the salary of a CDL Dedicated driver to average $57,311.